July 6, 2012

Our New Oregon Friends

Earl, me, Betty, Barbara, Galen
As I mentioned last Friday, as part of our satisfying retirement Betty and I flew to Portland to begin a vacation to meet some  blogging friends - folks who live in Oregon that I had met on-line but have never spent time with in person. We were "virtual" friends who were anxious to take the next step and spend time together. I can report it has been a fabulous experience so far.


Galen Pearl and Barbara and Earl Torris have been absolute delights. We are talking, laughing, and sharing as if we had known each other for years. Betty and I have fallen in love with Portland, not just for the delightfully cool weather, but the eclectic neighborhoods, the flowers, the amazing public parks and enough restaurants to keep us trying a different one each night for the rest of our life. 


Galen is every bit as fun and charming, intelligent and inspiring as she seems to be in her blog. She has shown us The Lan Su Chinese gardens, The International Rose gardens and the Japanese Gardens. She introduced us to one of the most interesting dining establishments we have ever been to: The Kennedy School. Her love of Portland is infectious and she seems tickled that we are liking as much as she. She treated the group to a first class dinner at Salty's, a tremendous restaurant overlooking the Columbia River.


Barbara Torris has boundless energy and enthusiasm and is an amazing conversationalist. She makes you feel instantly comfortable. As natives of Oregon, both she and husband Earl know all the background of the area. Earl is a walking history book and our designated driver. They took Betty and me to wineries and an olive oil mill south of Portland where we sampled wine, cheese, and fruit on a patio overlooking fields of lavender. We, along with Galen, enjoyed a tremendous Salmon BBQ dinner at their home. Since Barbara and Earl live in Tucson for half of the year, we expect to make the 90 minute drive to their home several times when they return to the desert to keep the friendship alive.


I am so happy I took the step to turn this on-line friendship into a real one. We have found people who we truly enjoy spending time with. Yes, we share blogging as a common interest, but this trip showed we share so much more than that. Making good friends is never easy, but even more difficult as we age. Maybe it is because we become too set in our ways or aren't willing to put in the effort required. From this experience I can tell you all that doesn't need to be true. The world is full of delightful people just waiting to welcome you into their life. Galen, Barbara, and Earl are proof.


In a few days we are off to spend three days with Bill and Wendy Birnbaum in Sisters, Oregon, about 3 hours from Portland. After having spent a few hours together last April in Phoenix, we already know Bill and Wendy are every bit as warm and fascinating as our new Portland friends. But, to be welcomed into their home is a special treat. I am really looking forward to learning about the Birnbaum's 2 month RV trip and explore a new part Oregon. Bill and I share a background of spending our working life as consultants. We will have plenty of stories to swap.


Betty and I are making plans to come back to Oregon next summer. We'd love to spend at least a month in a place that is already beginning to feel like a second home. But now, it is time to enjoy some of Betty's photos of Portland:



Waterfall at Chinese Garden


Chinese Garden



Street Scene: NW section of Portland


Typical home with beautiful planting


International Rose Gardens

Japanese Gardens


Japanese Gardens

Random couple we saw

Oregon Wine Country SW of Portland

After we return home I'll be sharing more about our Oregon adventure, including additional photos of the area's tremendous wineries, Galen's fabulously relaxing mountain cabin, our time along the coast, and our visit with Bill and Wendy Birnbaum. It has been a very memorable vacation during our very satisfying retirement.

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I'll be happy to "hear" all about it!

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  2. Great pictures Bob! I hope I get to the Pacific Northwest someday.

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  3. I had so much fun getting to know you and Betty and showing y'all around. Like you, I felt like we have known each other a long time. You and Betty are gracious guests and wonderful friends. Can't wait to see you next time!

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    1. Betty and I agree 100%. It is as if we have always been friends and just met up again. It is soooo refreshing to meet people that you instantly feel comfortable with and can share deep feelings and thoughts. You made our time in Portland very special.

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  4. Sounds like a great trip, and love the photos. Next time could you put some labels or captions on the pics so we know what we're looking at? Although, I guess we DO know that favorite celebrity couple standing in front of the brick wall! Thx!

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    1. Great idea, Tom. I have added brief captions to each photo.

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  5. Bob, I knew you were going to love Portland. I took one of my favorite pictures in the Japanese Garden there just a few years ago. How awesome that you got to share time with blogger friends. It's an exciting time for you and Betty.

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    1. Making new friends through blogging is an unexpected bonus of this "hobby." I enjoy the writing but didn't anticipate making close friends. This has been a tremendous time away from the routine.

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  6. I live in Eugene and love Oregon - moved here 9 yrs ago from the SF Bay area. So glad you had such a good time with friends and enjoyed the wonderful place I have made my home. I love visiting Portland, but enjoy the smaller, less city feel of Eugene to live in. And yes, I am now an avid Duck fan!

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    1. As I type this we are in Newport on the Oregon coast..rugged and beautiful. Betty and I have plans to come back to Portland next summer for at least a month. It is easy to see why you like Oregon.

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  7. Ah, the reality of the blogging world! So glad you're all enjoying your "face time".

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    1. Congrats on "completing" two years away from work, Linda. Isn't retirement grand! Blogging can be a real blessing.

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  8. Looks like a great trip! Enjoy!
    b

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  9. How fun that you got to meet some of your 'virtual' friends. I look forward to doing the same in a few years.

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  10. Hi Bob,

    I don't blog but I do like to comment every so often. I've become "friends" with several people who blog. We email, call or even send items through the mail. My real life friends think I'm crazy but that's okay. When Tropical Storm Debby came through a couple of weeks ago my blogger buddy's all checked in on me. I so happy that you had such a nice visit. I just read Galen's blog for the first time yesterday. She seems very nice. Betty took some beautiful pictures too. Thanks for the tour.

    Patti

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    1. Hi Patti,

      Galen writes very well and is a super lady. In the space of just a few days she became a close friend. She has a book coming out this fall that I expect will be quite good. Barbara and Earl were a delight also. Since they spend half the year in Arizona we will be able to see them often.

      Blogging friends can open all sorts of doors to new experiences and relationships. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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